Tuesday, May 18

SUPP’s defeat spells rocky days ahead

The following story was first published by the Malaysian Mirror and it is now published here for the readers of The Broken Shield.

By Joseph Tawie
17 May 2010

SIBU - The Barisan Nasional-Sarawak United People’s Party has failed to retain Sibu parliamentary seat despite massive injection of money worth more than RM400 million and the promise of more to come for various development projects and plus plenty of “goodies”.

Robert Lau Hui Yew secured 18,477 votes as against Richard Wong of 18,845 votes, a majority of votes of 398 votes in one of the most hotly contested by-election. The May 16 by-election was held after the death of Robert Lau Hoi Chew on 9 April.

“This is a serious setback for the Barisan Nasional especially for SUPP,” said a political observer.

The defeat must have been very bitter especially after all Federal Ministers including Prime Minister Najib and his Deputy Muhyiddin Yassin put their hearts to the campaign. Najib himself made three campaign visits to Sibu to ensure the BN’s victory.

The BN was determined to add another victory to its number of MPs after its victory on the 25 April by-election in Hulu Selangor. But all their efforts failed.

So the BN leadership must be wondering what went wrong with their campaigns, their promises and with their policies.

The rejection is seen by many as a clear signal of not only troubles to come to the Barisan Nasional particularly to SUPP in the coming state election less than one year from now, but one that may start the “vote4change” tsunami in the state which has been controlled by the State Barisan under Abdul Taib Mahmud for more 29 years.

In this by-election, Taib and his administration have been one of the core issues so much so that Taib appeared to be a liability. It is said that Najib has advised him not to campaign in the town areas otherwise more Chinese would vote for DAP.

DAP has accused Taib’s politics of development as “politics of discrimination, nepotism and corruption”. The policy on land and NCR land, the awarding of timber concessions, government contracts, etc are examples of injustice and unfairness. And even the tallest Sanyan building which Taib’s brother owns also becomes an issue in Sibu.

And SUPP, being part of the government, is also to be blamed for the discriminatory policies in particular against the ordinary Chinese, while the wealthy and influential Chinese become richer.

Even the Ibans in the rural areas are badly affected by these policies. The lack of infrastructure, the absence of clean water and electricity supply in some of the 110 longhouses is an example of this neglect.

When Najib went to one of the longhouses to campaign, he saw certain houses have no electricity. He was very embarrassed. He ordered an immediate electricity connection. Luckily there were some SESCO wiremen following Najib.

Another factor that might have contributed to SUPP’s failure to retain the seat was the unsolvable bickering over the formation of the Dudong Branch. The leader of the Dudong branch and over 3,000 of his supporters were excluded in the campaign. The Malaysian Mirror commented on this one week or so before the polling.

Other causes of SUPP’s defeat are due to the less number of postal votes (2,673) as compared with the previous one of slightly over 3,000 votes and also the transfer of more than 3,000 voters from Sibu parliamentary constituency to Lanang parliamentary constituency.

Implications of the defeat are aplenty. And the obvious one is that money is not the determining factor as far as the Chinese voters are concerned. The Chinese see that the giving of money during a by-election shows the government is not sincere in helping the people who have been suffering for decades.

“Why should we wait for a by-election for the Barisan Nasional to pour money into the constituency?” asked a retired civil servant.

In that case the people hoped that their MPs or DUN members either die or resign if they wanted development money and other “goodies”, he said ironically.

Secondly, the people are fed-up with the present State government and are looking for change. With the existence of a two party system, the people have a choice. If they do not like you, they will vote you out.

Politics of promise and lies cannot sustain in today’s election as the majority of voters now are young people who can identify between truths and lies. Threats and intimidation cannot work any more in a sophisticated and knowledgeable society.

For the Pakatan, the victory is considered extremely important badly needed to prod up its moral especially in the midst of resignations from PKR, a partner in the Pakatan.

Indeed the victory is an ample proof that the Pakatan has the support of the people. As Lim Kit Siang said, the victory is considered the first step in the Pakatan march towards Putrajaya.

Locally, the victory is seen as a barometer for the coming state election that may be called between now and May next year. At stake are the Chinese majority seats held by SUPP including seats of Pelawan and Bawang Assan in the Sibu Parliamentary constituency and nearby state seat of Dudong in the Lanang Parliamentary constituency. The other state seat of Bukit Assek in the Lanang constituency is already in the hands of DAP.

The tsunamic effect of this victory may also roll over down river to the state constituency of Repok in the Sarikei parliamentary constituency or even to Kuching, Bau, Sri Aman and Miri.

For the first time, the voters saw the formation of Pakatan Rakyat Sarawak announced before the by-election by DAP, PKR, PAS and SNAP working as a team as a possible alternative to the State Barisan Nasional Government.

For the Pakatan, this was the first time that they worked as one team and its strategy worked to its advantage.

While DAP concentrated its efforts to woo and “control” the Chinese voters throughout the campaign, PAS went all out to explain the policies of the Pakatan in the Malay kampongs.

Initially, PAS campaigners were refused entry by the house owners, but they came through the back door and were able to convey their message.

DAP lost heavily in the 2008 parliamentary election. But this time around the loss had been minimized to only 500 votes.

In the Iban longhouses, the PKR was given the task to campaign.

For decades, the people in the longhouses have never known any other parties except SUPP. In fact the DAP leaders have never set foot in these longhouses during election times. There was no alternative, but for the Ibans to vote for SUPP.

But in this by-election, at least the Ibans know there is an Opposition as its campaigners led by PKR Dayak leaders visited every single longhouse in the Rasau, Bawang Assan, Penasu and Pasai polling districts.

“Before only Malays and Chinese came to talk to us about politics,” said a woman whose age is about 70.

“You people are the first from the Opposition to visit us and talk to us about issues that affect,” she said.

It was not an easy task to campaign in these longhouses as they have been “brainwashed” by Barisan leaders through Radio and TV and have been fed with rosy stories, about politics of development, the development of native customary rights lands, the lies of the Opposition, and etc and etc.

But the visits made by the Opposition leaders such as Anwar Ibrahim, Daniel Tajem and Baru Bian to longhouses have helped to open up their minds and eyes to see the “truths” of their side of the stories.

For example, the issues on native customary rights land that has been seized by the government and has been leased to big companies for the planting of oil palm.

Tajem told them to defend their land as it is their most valuable asset. “Take away their land, the Ibans will be like fish without water. In other words, they will die,” he said.

Tajem warned them that if they continued to vote the Barisan Nasional then they were going to lose more of their land.

The Opposition campaigns in some of the longhouses had made the BN leaders more worried as a result the BN ministers made several visits to these longhouses not only to counter issues made by the Opposition leaders but also to make promises of monetary rewards.

For instance, after Anwar’s visit to Rumah Baseh in the Bawan Assan area, Deputy Prime Minister made a visit to the longhouse, and his visit was followed by visits of other Federal and State ministers.

Although the Pakatan candidate lost nearly 2,000 of the Iban votes, the voting percentage of the Ibans for Robert Wong has increased between 30 and 35 percent. Previously Robert Wong received almost next to nothing.

With the victory in the by-election, political awakening has slowly begun among the people. Nevertheless, Pakatan needs to work much harder in the coming election in order to waken the rural people from their deep political slumber.

As James Masing, president of Parti Rakyat Sarawak said that the rural constituencies will be the “battle ground” for the coming state election.

In other words, the road to Petrajaya in Kuching depends on who controls the rural constituencies.


Anonymous said...

The people of Sarawak have been cheated for so many decades of real development;the rural poor deprived of basic amenities and the urban proper planning,the list of grievances is long.Year after year we stand by the sidelines watching the leeches suck our resources dry and the running dogs meowing praises for their masters and swallowing the morsels of money thrown to them as they sell their souls.
We have so called leaders who huff and puff and bluster at any mention of their incompetency and lack of spinal vertebrae in voicing for their electorate.
We see them even clearer now after the show they put on in Sibu for the true pariahs they are trying to cheat the people again with their empty condescending arrogant speeches and their inability to accept graciously a bitter defeat.Look at the suspensions meted to the two Opposition representatives, if they is not excessive for mere remarks or have not heard worse unpunished remarks by their own?.Our poor excuses for political representatives can surely dish it out but cannot take the same.I wonder what they do in that monstrosity of a building,actually.
I must say let the show go on as they will expose more of their failings and political impotence with every moronic decision they make and let the people of all races awake.

Bemused amused .

Mata Kuching said...

Never before in Sibu — Wee Wui Keat (loyarburok.com)
May 19, 2010

MAY 19 — Never before in Sibu have we seen such a strong line of a multi-ethnic opposition coalition working together hand-in-hand way into the wee hours of the night to bring about change.

Never before in Sibu have we seen so many Malays proudly wearing DAP caps and wearing DAP shirts on the streets and sidewalk.

Never before in Sibu have we seen a Malay woman donning the tudung, hoisting a huge DAP flag.

Never before in Sibu kopitiam have we seen Chinese men inviting Malay PKR men (who are strangers to them) to engage in an amicable and spirited conversation about political issues and problems.

Never before in Sibu have we witnessed such a wide range of formerly-alleged-as “taboo” and “sensitive” issues analysed and discussed in front of a huge and eager multi-racial audience in such peace, non-hostility, and good faith.

Never before in Sibu have we witnessed such a huge 15,000-strong public turn up at the Opposition’s grand finale ceramah on May 15, 2010 and stayed there for six consecutive hours — from 6.00pm to midnight.

Not only were they there on their own accord, they did not leave when it drizzled, they were not paid to turn up, and they even donated on the spot for the cause.

Never before in Sibu have we witnessed a huge public crowd that is more drawn to listen to speech on issues instead of seeing fireworks and helicopters flying.

Never before in Sibu have we witnessed our Malaysian prime minister flying in to Sibu three times in a week to campaign for one sole Parliamentary seat — which the ruling coalition also alleged that the opposition would not be able to do anything with — thus showing to Sibu people how important that one seat is.

Much is owed to the fact that it was a lone by-election and hence the deployment of all the national heavyweight political figures from both sides of the divide.

Never before in Sibu when we have such a huge successive public attendance at ceramahs night after night involving multi-racial cross-section of the community where there is total devotion to listen to every word spoken without any incentive to lure the public by offering food, BBQ, jamuan makan malam or rumah terbuka feasts, lucky draw, beauty contest, karaoke singing competition, and all that rubbish.

Never before in Sibu has the Election Commission headquarters at Sibu Civic Centre been cordoned off by so many police and FRU with all surrounding roads blocked off amidst serious traffic jam due to the huge public crowd gathering in the rain to await the final outcome of an election around the Civic Centre.

Never before in Sibu have so many of my friends come to realise the value of being a registered voter and cherish the ability to vote.

Never before in Sibu have I heard young people telling each other “I am going to register as a voter, fly home and vote next time to do my part.”

Sibu by-election May 16, 2010 is a day of so many “Firsts” for Sibu and I wish it will also trigger many more “Firsts” for the rest of the Central Region of Sarawak.

It is indeed a miracle.

Apai Semalau said...

The battle ground is "teaching old dogs new tricks". Many older Ibans prefer the status quo and are fearful to rock the boat. Until and unless PR can win over the younger generation the battle is a foregone conclusion.
Agi idup agi berani?

Anonymous said...

The Ibans cry foul play when their lands are taken away to become oil palm plantations owned by the big corporate boys in West Malaysia with political links. They cried even more when their Native lands become State lands. Yet they rally their undivided support for the Barisan when it comes to polling day. Who's going to hear their 'wolf, wolf, wolf' again the next time? Like crying babies over spoilt milk?

Mata Kuching said...

The helpless rural poor ain’t heavy for us. They are our brothers. They are not a burden to us with their lack of education. We shall continue to fight for their interest and help them to help themselves to first to regain their identity and dignity and to know their right to developing their own land.

Every effort now must be made to register the rural youths and educate them to differentiate good government and governance from the corrupted and oppressive.

All religious institutions in Sarawak and Sabah must take it upon themselves as their moral responsibility to preach and speak out against abuse of political power, corruptions and seek just use of power.

As a christian I strongly feel the church and all religious institutions have a role in all activities relating to governing, guiding and building a civil society. All religious institutions must not turn away from socio-political-economic issues and concerns. As a christian I can attest that Scriptures and history clearly support the church’s place in these concerns.

All religious leaders in Malaysia must be bold to deliberate on the role and involvement of religious institutions in socio-political-economic issues.

Sarawak and Sabah will still be the best states in Malaysia for all religious institution to preach and speak out against the abuse of political power, corruptions and seek the just use of power.

Anonymous said...

coming state election, every pintu of iban longhouses will be get rm1000 from Bn/taib using people's taxpayers' money. since dayak iban are the most and choose not to change, who can help them?

Mata Kuching said...

Taib Mahmud special Gawai message to all rural voters :

The UMNO controlled BN government did not issue land titles to the rural poor was for their own good to protect the rural poor and prevent them from selling their land.

The UMNO controlled BN government did not connect electricity and water to the rural poor was to protect the environment and save them from having to pay for utilities.

The UMNO controlled BN government did not build roads and bridges to the rural poor was to prevent the Opposition from reaching to them and poisoning their minds.

The UMNO controlled BN government did not want the rural poor to be educated and prosperous for their own good so that they would not be influenced by Opposition to cause trouble.

Lastly Happy Gawai and spend your grant wisely because I am not inspired to give out another grant yet. Be happy and drink as much as possible to drown your sorrows.

Mr Change said...

This are the answers to why BN failed
1, they failed becos they are liars.

2, they failed becos they are arrogant

3, they failed becos too many projects goes to only the rich tycoons.

4, they failed becos they use federal guys to belittle the sibu people.

5, they failed becos taib's politics of development is just a mirage.

6, they failed becos supp cannot be trueted

7, they failed becos supp have too many infighting.

8, they failed becos george chan mess around with women.

9, they failed becos sibu was never on the list for development.

10, they failed becos the chinese is fed up with taib.

11, they failed becos the land issues was never been addressed.

12, they failed becos sarawak have become umno lapdog.

13, they failed becos for 43 years,Bn have fail us terribly.

14, they failed becos taib fail to bring up the 5% royalty with the fed gov't.

15, they failed becos sarawak 18 point agreement have been torn to shred.

16, they failed becos the poor ural folks have never been properly taken care of.

17, they fail becos cronyism is rampant in sarawak.

18 and finally they failed becos we are fed up with BN.We want CHANGE.

the above are just part of the answer. More will be coming.

Mata Kuching said...

Taib Mahmud says, “If Malaysians believe in what DAP says about CORRUPTION in Malaysia and that UMNO controlled BN government practise CORRUPTION, the world will collapse.”

Taib Mahmud’s world and not the world is slowly but surely collapsing. According to some bomohs, Taib Mahmud’s soul and body organs are already starting to rot too.

Malaysians shall rally behind Pakatan to hasten the collapse of UMNO controlled BN government and bring an end to to Taib Mahmud’s empire and UMNO hegemony.

Pakatan’s machinery will make sure all the rural youths in particular and all citizens are registered as voters and shall excercise their right to vote for a just and fair government which priorities shall be to eradicate poverty, corruptions,root out all racist elements, unite the nation, grooming and retaining local talents,upholding our constitution and ensuring an independent, effective and competent Judiciary, MACC, PDRM and civil service.

Malaysians shall say NO to UMNO controlled BN government and shall vote them out.

Mata Kuching said...

To YB Wong Ho Leng. Pakatan has just managed to cause a significant crack on the wall of Taib Mahmud’s Empire. Taib’s lieutenants in SUPP, PRS and SPDR are gearing to strike back together with their master. The fall of Taib in the hands of Pakatan will annihilate his Empire for sure and also the end of BN Sarawak and shall definitely hasten the demise of UMNO and all its stooges in BN.

DAP and its Pakatan coalitions must now be seen to be working in cohesion and be committed to launch an aggressive and well coordinated “attack” against the massive arsenal of Taib in the coming election. Pakatan must fight to “kill” and win control of Petrajaya and not just to seriously wound the paramount white crocodile.

Pakatan in Sarawak comprising DAP, PAS, PKR and SNAP must jointly plan to register more voters especially in the rural constituencies. PAS and PKR muslim members must not be afraid to be seen even in the vicinity of Churches and Temples or be seen in the company of Christians, Buddhists, Taoists or Sikhs or Hindus while working together to register voters. Pakatan should organise inter-faith or inter- religious dialogues periodically and organise voters registrations in churches, mosques, or temples on a weekly basis with a good mix of members from all religions.

Only then the rural folks and Sarawakians will appreciate better the struggles of Pakatan for a just and fair government that takes care of the interests of all Malaysians regardless of their political affiliations.

Mata Kuching said...

Urban voters which happened to have Chinese majority voters simply want good governance, a just and fair government that work for all races, a government which practise accountability, transparency, a government which respect the rule of laws and uniting all races to achieve progress in all fields. Unfortunately, MCA and SUPP still missed the points when trying to win the hearts of Chinese voters. Seeking RM100 billion just for Chinese education alone and at the expense of all other races and especially the rural schools and poor, will not win Chinese support at all. The Chinese and majority of urban voters voted for the Pakatan because they felt UMNO controlled BN will not reform itself and BN dominated by UMNO which has created a big mess and downgraded Malaysia to what it is today was because UMNO only wants to cling to power at all cost. The Chinese and majority of urban voters also felt its their moral responsibility to fight for the interest of the helpless and rural poor and are determined to get rid of any corrupted and authoritarian regime.

Mata Kuching said...

The Deputy Minister of Information, Communication and Culture, Joseph Salang, should not, as one of the educated Dayak leaders, try to manipulate the minds of the less educated rural poor and imprison their thoughts and views of what are happening to them and around them. He has deliberately and dishonestly spook fear in the already poor rural folks that if they choose to vote against BN like the voters in urban constituencies they would be left behind in development and progress for at least four years or more. Did Salang being one of the educated Dayak realise that these people whom he talked to had never seen development and progress in their longhouse for the last 48 years under the rule of UMNO controlled BN led by a notorious paramount pirate CM in Sarawak?

Would Joseph Salang choose to live in the longhouse and confine his parents and siblings to the hardship of living in the interior Sarawak without electricity and treated water and cut off from developments which we witnessed even in Opposition constituency like Bukit Bintang and Kuching just to name two . And Bukit Bintang under the DAP since 1960s is one of the most modern, developed and thriving constituencies in Malaysia today.

The Minister in the Chief Minister Department, Fatimah Abdullah, should be feeling most guilty when she admitted that there were many schools like SMK Balai Ringin in Sarawak which were in dire need of repairs and improvements. Financial constrains had caused the projects to be stalled yet she was not daring to speak out aginst the way his boss and PM splashed money to 65 schools and 5 churches in Sibu which did not need the money in the recent Sibu Buy Election. Infact none of the BN lawmakers in Sarawak dared to speak against such blatant bribery and inducement for votes at the expense of all rural poor who had waited for 48 years to be connected with electricity and treated water and schools to be repaired and improved. Some schools had yet to be built despite the urgency.

It is too little to show and too late to convince the rakyat to be united behind UMNO controlled BN in Sarawak. 48 years is already too long. NO more lame excuses. The root cause of Sarawak been one of the poorest state in Malaysia despite our rich natural resources was because of Massive corruption and abuse of power by Tun Rahman and now Taib Mahmud.

ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. Sarawak is ready for Change.